Monday, 25 May 2020

Govt should delay road tax increase due to economic crisis

“The Government should delay an increase in road user charges scheduled for 1 July this year,” according to ACT Leader David Seymour.

“This tax increase will affect tradies, truckies, courier drivers, delivery vehicles – basically any business that uses a diesel-powered vehicle. The impact will be felt through the cost structure of nearly everything consumers buy. At a time of economic crisis when the Government is hosing money all over the place and heavily indebting the next generation, gouging road users is nuts.

“The Government should approach the COVID-19 crisis with a simple maxim from the Hippocratic Oath: First, do no harm. Before spending money to stimulate the economy, the Government should ask, can it take less in the first place? Before giving money to prop up failing businesses, it should ask, can it stop hurting businesses in the first place?

Road user charges are scheduled to increase for all categories of vehicle by about 5 per cent. That increase is double CPI inflation, currently listed by the Reserve Bank at 2.5 per cent.

“These increases follow steadily rising government revenues. In 2019, the government took $1.673 billion in RUCs, up 7.9 per cent from $1.551 billion in 2018 [p. 63].

“This increase is occurring in the context of COVID-19 and a $140 billion borrowing program. It’s extraordinary that the Government is prepared to gouge businesses that rely on diesel vehicles on the one hand, while professing to want to create jobs at the same time.

“The Government should bring legislation to the House to reverse the road user charges increase this July. It is a simple, easy fix that would give relief to businesspeople up and down the country.”